Many years ago, a friend of mine shared a story about a heavy-duty dump truck that attempted to follow a road through an underpass of a steel bridge in a small residential area in New Jersey.  The clearance was not sufficient, and with a metal on metal screech, the truck came to a sudden stop wedged under the bridge.

As the wrecker service, police officers, and fire departments arrived on scene, efforts began to free the truck and clear the single lane of travel.  The truck would not budge using its own power, and using the wrecker to pull the truck out would cause significant structural damage to the bridge that was necessary for the railroad.

Ideas to bring in equipment to possibly lift the bridge slightly to allow the truck to move freely were beginning to be discussed as was bringing in a welder to cut away the truck body where it was wedged.  The suggestions were getting more complicated and expensive as time went by.

The crowds had grown as observers in this small residential area gathered to see what was causing all the excitement in their small community.  On the porch of a nearby home sat a father and his young boy who was soaking in the “coolest thing he’d ever seen in his life!”

The son asked many questions as all young inquisitive minds do including, “When will the truck get unstuck, Dad?”  The father commented that all those people that were closely involved in the situation were working hard to figure out the solution, and would find one soon.  The father could see his son thinking hard about another question to ask.  After a few quiet moments, the son posed another question, “Dad, can they let the air out of the tires?”

The father looked at his son in amazement.  He took his son’s hand and walked down to those in charge and shared his son’s question.  Within 5 minutes, the truck backed out of the underpass and the crowds began to disperse.

Sometimes the closer we are to the problem, the more complicated it appears, and simple solutions can often be identified using distance, a different perspective, and an inquisitive mind.  As a leader, you should look for opportunities to take advantage of all three.

This is Jason Walker sharing an Elite Team INSIGHT.